Friday, August 27, 2010

Habitat Spurs Progress in EcoVillage!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

As we gear up towards the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter visit in October, I strolled through the EcoVillage this week. Pictured above is 430 30th Ave N. When I went by one day, it was a normal vacant lot with a Habitat sign and some markers on it. The following day, ground was being broken here, as well as at 416 30th Ave N. I also had the chance to meet two of the families who will be living at 430 30th and 419 30th. They're wonderful people who will be excellent additions to the neighborhood.

Just south of the EcoVillage boundaries is another Habitat rehab at 2917 6th St N.

And while the new LEED home at 400 31st is a PPL project and not Habitat, it's still coming along nicely. The garage, being worked on in the photo below, is likely complete by now.

Mike Christenson of CPED has been fond of saying, "When things are done in the EcoVillage you're not going to belive it." Well, we're only in the infancy of building anew, and the future is already so bright. Here's what I believe: I believe that in several years, we'll put the finishing touches on this project. And when that happens, we'll tell all the newbies about how rough it was here for a while. When that happens, things will have been so good for so long that THEY'LL be the ones who don't believe us.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Purchases Office Space!

Post and photo by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council is now the proud owner of 2944 Emerson Ave N, closing on our long-standing office space in July. With an exciting new beginning also came a bittersweet end; the transaction marked the final works of the Bethel Lutheran Church Dissolution Committee.

Originally, the house was a structure associated with the church building to the north of the site. It was used as the church parsonage from its construction until 1958. For the next thirty years, Bethel Lutheran Church held Sunday school in the building and used it as their church office space. Shortly afterward, the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council (then called the Hawthorne Area Community Council) began renting office space from Bethel. As attendance and membership at Bethel Lutheran Church declined, the church was sold to New Bethel Baptist and the lots were divided to create two separate properties.

Prior to closing on the house, HNC first went to the city of Minneapolis for a zoning variance, which was approved. The city's findings and recommendations can be found here.

Hawthorne is grateful for the hard work of our board members, staff, and other colleagues who helped guide us through the zoning and acquisition processes, including the advice from Project for Pride in Living regarding energy-efficient and environmentally friendly ways we can begin to rehab our new home. We are now owners of our own office space at a fraction of our previous rental costs.

In the coming months, HNC will begin the work of improving the property through a new roof and refurbished windows, as well as landscaping and other changes. Hawthorne and NoMi neighbors are encouraged to stop by and see our "new" home!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wafana's - Going, Going, Gone!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director.

The Wafana's store at 24th and Lyndale once logged over 1,400 911 calls in a 12-month period and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in city resources. At the 3rd Ward CARE meeting this week, I heard the news it was demolished. Already, as shown above, new trees have been planted along the property.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

EcoVillage LEED House Ready for Showing!

Post by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director. Image contributed by Banneker Realty.

The first new construction of the Hawthorne EcoVillage is ready for sale! For more information on this exciting new home, which is expected to be LEED-certified upon completion, go to its official website. From there, you can contact our excellent listing agents at Banneker Realty. From all the wonderful neighbors in Hawthorne, welcome to the EcoVillage!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Rehab Begins at 915 22nd Ave N!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

Rehab work is in full swing at 915 22nd Ave N, making it impossible for no-accounts to use the spot as a place to come and deal or use drugs. Neighbors are happy to see the progress, and we hope the house will be sold to a good owner-occupant in the near future!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

New Arts Opportunities

FY 2011 grant application deadlines
The Minnesota State Arts Board has posted its schedule of grant application deadlines and advisory panel review meetings for the first part of FY 2011.  The board expects to have one grant round in the fall/winter and another in the spring; additional dates will be added to the calendar later this fall.

Grant information sessions
Sessions are being offered this month for the upcoming Artist Initiative grant round.  Register online if you'd like to attend.

And for the right artists this might be an exceptional opportunity: The Creative Community Leadership Institute @ Intermedia Arts.

A Quick Note About Comment Moderation on this Blog

This blog is the approved blog of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council. In posting and commenting here, its contributors are expected to keep that in mind. HNC welcomes spirited debate around important topics to our community, and is committed to approving comments on all sides of an issue.

However, comments that do not fit our mission statement will not be approved. That statement reads: "The Council seeks to improve the quality of life in the Hawthorne Neighborhood through empowering the residents in order that they can address the physical, cultural, social, and economic needs of the community."

A recent anonymous comment has not been approved because it does not fit the above statement.

Monday, August 02, 2010

915 22nd Ave N: Fence It Off, Fix It Up, or Tear It Down!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director

Earlier in the summer, Hawthorne residents brought drug use problems at 915 22nd Ave N to my attention. We still have not stopped people from sneaking around to the back of the property, shooting up, lurking, and leaving their drug paraphernalia and other litter behind. Every time I've gone to this property, there have been more needles and litter strewn throughout the yard. What makes this an especially difficult problem to address is that it is quite literally impossible to see what's going on from the street or alley. The house is built in such a way that one can stand on the steps to the back/side door and be completely hidden.

The only way to confirm whether someone is back there is to actually go around the corner and check for oneself. This is not a safe activity for the little old ladies running the nearby community garden to engage in. Heck, even for a strapping, corn-fed farmboy such as myself, checking this place out is pretty risky. As much as we respect the fine work done by the MPD, there's also no real way they can consistently monitor this property. Drug use, loitering, lurking, littering and other activities reportedly happen at all hours of the day.

It should be noted that due to the arson and current condition of the building, as well as its odd layout that blocks alley access for 2128 Dupont, the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council supports demolition of this structure, and a re-platting of the properties to extend 2128 and 2126 Dupont Ave N to the alley.

Either demolition or rehab will certainly take many months to accomplish, and unless action is taken, the illegal activities will continue unabated. Can we get the current owner of the property to fence it off and limit access in the meantime?